Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guest Comment on the Legionaries of Christ

A friend, and Grotto-goer, who is currently out of state, emailed me the comment below for my blog, and has given me permission to use his name. He originally asked me to put it in the combox of this post on the Legion of Christ, but his format and links would have been lost, or I would have had to go through much time to re-link things there. Also, fewer hits find the post once a few days or a week has passed.

Bill Myszkier writes:

Thanks for continuing to post on the situation regarding the Legionaries of Christ. Some of the best coverage I have seen is being done by American Papist. Also notable is the blog by Ed Peters which you have referenced in your coverage. I would invite you to link again to this blog ( particularly the posts he made on 2/13/09 and 2/8/08.

As Ed mentions, the current Director General of the Legion is “stonewalling” when he says that he knows nothing about Maciel’s behavior except that he fathered a daughter. There has been no attempt to be candid about the results of the Legion’s internal investigation of Maciel. The reasonable conclusion is that he or other Legionary authorities have been complicit in covering up Maciel’s behavior perhaps over many years. This is supported by the post made by Tom Peters in American Papist ( dated 2/13/09, 7:00am. Here he quotes a spokesman for the Legion in Mexico as saying:

Javier Bravo, spokesman for the Legionaries in Mexico ... revealed that, even before the death of Marcial Maciel last January 2008, the Vatican already had in its possession an ample documentation about the amorous affairs of Maciel. [He also said that] the Vatican was planning on making this information public, and indicated this to Father Alvaro Corcuera, successor of Maciel at the head of the Legionaries. {note plural "amorous affairs", again.}

Peters comments:

“This is simply stunning news if it is true. It contradicts what the Legion has been saying that they found out first and went to the Vatican. It also contradicts the claim that the Legion spontaneously brought this information to its rank-and-file members.

For if the Legion's hand was indeed "forced" by an understanding that the Vatican was going to make this known anyway, then the Legion was actually granted permission by the Vatican to spread the news in their own way first (and we are witnesses to how that has worked out).”

The Legion has consistently tried to obfuscate the truth. Up to 2006 they said that Maciel was a saintly man and that his malicious accusers were trying to discredit him to attack the Church. Then when the 2006 communique (of Benedict XVI remanding Maciel to a life of penance) came out they continued to protest Maciel’s innocence and said that he would suffer in imitation of Jesus Christ for the good of the Legion and the Church. They were so certain of his innocence that they tried to defend the reputation of the Founder by bringing a civil suit against ReGAIN ( which had for years been trying to expose the corruption. Now they claim that even though they knew him to be innocent (at the same time that they were trying to destroy Maciel’s critics) they initiated an investigation of their saintly Founder. They discovered that he was living a “double life” and discovered he had an illegitimate daughter dating back to about 1987.

He may have misappropriated funds to support his second family but apparently there was no record of it for all that time. Neither apparently was anyone aware of these misdeeds. Now it also seems that at least some of the cases of pederasty involving seminarians might be true but nobody in the Legion knew anything about them until just recently (in spite of the fact that the victims were continuing to clamor for justice). How is it that Legionary superiors were unanimous in affirming his saintliness over a period of decades? Sanctity for a religious implies “vita communis” and rigorous observance of the Rule. How can one lead a double (triple, quadruple…) life and not have anyone know about it?

The Legion has not apologized or tried to help the victims nor have they acknowledged the legitimacy of the ReGAIN criticisms or reimbursed them for the legal expenses and the pain and suffering that their members have endured. Now it appears (from Tom Peter’s post) that the Vatican had to pressure the Legion against their will into “investigating” and taking action.

In short, is there anything in the history of the Legion to suggest that it desires reform or help from the Holy See? In fact, just the opposite. The Holy See had to intervene unilaterally after 2006 to abrogate key sections of the Legionary Constitutions central to its charism (the first secret vow that prohibited a Legionary from criticizing his superiors).

If the past is any indication the Legionaries of Christ will lie, obfucate, and obstruct to maintain their present position much as Legion resisted the exorcism Jesus performed in the region of the Gadarenes.

I would be grateful if you posted this as a comment below your most recent blog on the Legion.

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your coverage of the Legionaries of Christ. I'd like to add a note to your posting of Bill Myszkeir's helpful commentary.

When the 2006 Vatican communique was released, it was quickly followed by a response by the Legionaries of Christ, which Bill correctly notes, maintained Father Maciel's continuing protestations of innocence while expressing his "serenity" in accepting the Vatican's "remedy" as a "cross" that he accepted in a "Christ-like" way.

At the time, I was struck by the incongruity of the Legionary response.

Christ was condemned by the Jews for "blasphemy." But, since there was no Roman law against Jewish blasphemy, he was technically crucified for something like political agitation. Crucially, however, Christ was "guilty" of the charges. He was what he said he was--the Son of God and our Redeemer. He was not "innocent" of the charges against him.

So, Maciel's protest that we was innocent of the accusations is not analogous to Christ.

Furthermore, to accept an unjust remedy, if he was innocent, would be to have participated in great scandal.

As Ed Peters, I think, pointed out, the remedy of renouncing public ministry and retiring to a life of penance and prayer was a disciplinary, not a penal, one.

We can opine about the reasons for this--the nature of the original accusations is not the kind that is easily accompanied by tangible proof. In addition, there is, I believe, a statute of limitations in Canon Law for accusations of sexual abuse by a priest. There is not, however, any statute of limitations for abuse of the sacraments by a priest--and, I believe, the remedy was handed down because the investigation by the Vatican concluded that there was strong evidence to believe that Maciel had abused the sacrament of confession by forgiving his victims for "sins" he induced them to commit. Again, however, such violations of the sacraments are very hard to prove.

The very fact of a public announcement of the "remedy" speaks volumes. Had the Vatican found no credibility to the original accusations, no statement would have been issued. In fact, it is my understanding that the entire case, at that point, would literally have been burned.

The commuique noted that the Vatican did not proceed to a trial following the investigation in view of Maciels "age and health." But it is also my understanding that a trial could have been conducted had Maciel requested it. But he did not.

For these reasons, and because Regnum Christi and the Legion were praised by the Vatican "independently" of their Founder in the 2006 communique, we have strong reason to believe that the Holy See found at least some of the original accusations to be true. Otherwise why any remedy at all and why the public statement? In addition, why was there no public not of condolances from the Vatican to the Legion upon Maciel's death? Why was their no official Vatican presence at his funeral?

These latest revelations offer further proof (as the Legion has haltingly admitted) that Maciel's enterprise needs to be soul-searchingly re-examined.

Gregory Borse